“I'll ring Dad; he's picking us up anyway.”
We set off through Kripp at a very much reduced pace, a mere thirty kph, Mum had her phone out as soon as we reached a straight stretch of road.
“Dave? …hi luv…great, great, fifteen minutes…we need to do a mercy run…party,” Mum looked over to me, “where?”
“Er Max's.” I should have met the others at Pia's; they'd be walking over to the venue now.
“The Strechau place,” Mum returned her attention to Dad, “yeah, I guess…hang on I'll put her on.” She held out her phone for me to take.
“You are a one Drew, anything you want me to bring down?”
“A change of clothes would be nice.”
“Anything in particular?”
“Not really, as long as it's clean.”
“Okay.” Dave shook his head.
“Oh, there's a bag on my desk, Anna's present.”
“Alright, see you in a few.”
The call over I passed Mum back her phone, we were almost at the railway bridge now, so the timing was good.
Dave gave a sigh as he put the phone down, that kid'll forget his head one of these days. He didn't very often go up to the attic room, there wasn't any need, but as a dutiful father he made the climb. The room was typical teen – teen girl that is! Underwear and hose on the floor, other articles of clothing hung on doors, assorted makeup on the desk but mixed in with that was an assortment of cycling garb, kit bags, school books, a display cabinet with model cars in it, the walls adorned with cycling posters and a collection of definitely girly cards.
“Wassup?” number one daughter enquired from below.
“Do us a favour, can you find something in this mess for your sister to wear to her party, I've no idea and I've got to go in five minutes.”
“Sure.” She agreed, ‘I'll get you Sis!'
Dave descended with the gift bag and went to get ready for the Taxi run.
“Hey you two, mine for supper?” Maria enquired from ahead.
“This one has a party to get to,” Mum mentioned, “but I'm sure Dave would be up for that.”
“I'll tell Hen to expect us then.” The team captain already had her own handy at the ready.
The whole dynamic of the group had now changed, the conversation wasn't confined to bikes and racing, in fact that was hardly brought up, no the girls instead spent the ride back towards Bad Neuenahr talking about bra's and makeup! They took the quiet lane back rather than the main road they'd used on the outbound, the others turning off to go directly to the Pinger's place at Lohrsdorf.
“Come on, race you to the station.” Mum suggested.
“I wouldn't want to beat you again.”
“Hey, there's life in your old Mum yet, you gave us quite a workout back there.”
“If you ride like that for BC over the summer I'm sure you'll be on the full squad in no time.”
“Possibly.” I allowed.
In truth I hadn't even thought about stuff like that, yeah I want to ride the Tour, be World Champeen but I hadn't really thought about the mechanics of accomplishing those goals other than winning races. In the end we only sprinted for the town sign, Mum easily took me, my legs were still rubbery.
Dave pulled onto the forecourt just as his wife and offspring dismounted their steeds.
“Come on dizzy; let's get you to the ball.”
“Sorry Dad, with Mum here and training and stuff…”
With practised ease the bikes were quickly racked and everyone on board the 95.
“Supper at the Pinger's after we drop this one.” Jen mentioned.
“Save me a call, I need to speak to Henryck.”
“You bring the prezzie?” I asked.
“On the seat, your sister got your clothes, in the bag there.”
“I'm sure it's all in there.”
We'd gone straight out onto the bypass and were already at Silverberg, we'd be at Max's in under ten minutes from here.
“So, good session?”
“This one made it more interesting.” Mum replied.
“George wanted us to work on our chasing so I took off as bait, the others were supposed to organise a chase.”
“Okay.” Dad nodded.
“'cept no one had told this one.” She motioned towards me.
“How was I supposed to know?” I pouted.
“Well according to Maria they were about to launch the chase when the dynamo attacked on her own. They'd just about caught her and me, when she took off again, came past me like a flippin' bullet.”
“Well.” I supplied.
“We spent the rest of the session chasing her, nearly ten K.”
“I take it you did.” Dad suggested.
“I was first to the Linz sign.”
“The little sod went again just as I got on his wheel.” Mum admitted.
“That's my boy!” Dad crowed.
We turned into the lane across to the Schloss; Max was waiting by the gate, Dad pulled up in a cloud of dust.
“You got a lift back home?” Mum enquired.
“Arranged, say hi to Kat for me.”
I clambered out and grabbed the bags.
Dad spun the Saab round and took off back down the rutted lane.
“Heya Gab, you wearing that?”
Here I am in bibs, Apollinaris shirt and flip flops and he asks that, duh!
“Stuff in here.” I waggled the tote with my change of clothes in, “is there somewhere I can change?”
“In the house, come on.”
Of course I've been to the Schloss before so I at least knew which door we were heading for. There was the sound of music from across the courtyard; I hurried not wishing to be any tardier than I already was.
“You can use my room.”
“'kay.” I agreed as we made our way upstairs.
“That you Max?”
“Yes Gran.” He rolled his eyes.
“What happened to your party?”
“It's going, just had to pop back for something.” He called back down the hall, “quick, before she spots you!”
I slipped into the room and flipped on the light. I knew from before that he had an en-suite so I headed there first; don't want to turn up all smelly do I? No time for a shower of course but a quick scrub removed the worst of the rime although my hair was a bit ratty, hmm.
Back in the main room it was time to see what my sister had selected for me, I tipped the bag out, ‘you bitch Juliette!' at least my makeup bag was in there but she'd stuffed me completely – it's not like I've got a lot of options here.
The door opened a crack, “ You okay in there?” Max hissed.
I returned my attention to the pile on Max's bed.
"Max?" I enquired, poking my head out of the door.
He'd caught the full force of my sisters 'joke'.
"Max? You got someone with you?" the Baroness asked from down the hall.
I frantically waved and mouthed 'no' at him however he shrugged, there was no way to avoid it now.
"Just Gabs, she needed to change."
"Let's see her then."
Cripes, all I need!
"We have to get back Gran." Max suggested.
"You can spare two minutes."
"Yes Gran , " he sighed, "sorry Gabs."
I tottered along behind him, gift bag in one hand, the tote in the other.
"Um hi er Gran."
"Ach Gabriella," I could see her take a breath, "an interesting outfit?"
"My um sister's idea of a joke."
"A strange sense of humour, your sister, " she stated.
"Gran, party?" Max complained.
"We um really should go Gran; I'm late as it is."
"Don't be a stranger Gabrielle."
"Er of course not." I could hardly say otherwise could I?
"Go, have fun and stop twitching Max, it's unbecoming."
"Er goodnight." I added as we made our escape.
"Take these," I instructed my host, "I need both hands to get down here without breaking my neck."
It would have been easier to take the damn shoes off but, well you know how it is. Once downstairs I had to tackle the cobbles of the courtyard, I found myself gripping Max's arm so I didn't go bum over breasts.
"Look who I found!" Max announced, pushing the door open.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 05.10.2011